The Inside Scoop on D.C. Metro’s 2021 Housing Market Trends

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Washington, D.C., like the rest of the country, is entering a transitional period in 2021, and many hope that will extend to the housing market. Demand could start to outpace supply in the area, driving up prices and creating a highly competitive marketplace.

That means those looking to buy or sell a home should learn a bit about the local housing market to assist with the process — especially if they believe this area could be part of their new life. Staying informed is the key to any real estate decisions you make. Keep reading for more information on D.C. housing market trends in 2021.

D.C. Housing Market Predictions

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A significant economic recovery is likely on the way, thanks to the reopening of businesses that were forced to close their doors in 2020 and consumers looking to head out and enjoy themselves this summer. Current homeowners might want to see how the economy reacts before committing to selling, however, so finding that perfect property could prove challenging.

Rental Income Profitability

The lack of supply in the real estate market could make it more difficult to find a rental property. Those who track one down won’t have much trouble finding renters, though, because the rental market is incredibly competitive. The average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Washington, D.C., is $2,175, which is down 3% from 2020. The average two-bedroom apartment goes for $2,950, up 2% from last year. What you can expect to receive in rent varies by neighborhood, as a one bedroom in Georgetown averages over $2,700, while the same property in Congress Heights might only get you $1,100.

Affordable Neighborhoods

The median sale price of $635,000 means D.C. real estate isn’t cheap. You can find a deal by searching in some less desirable neighborhoods, though. Dupont Circle, for example, is centrally located near downtown and has an average listing price of $459,000; just keep in mind that much of the real estate in that neighborhood is multiunit. Georgetown has an average listing price of $1,612,000, while Chevy Chase’s average is $1,200,000, and Old Town is $889,000. Sitting in the middle are neighborhoods like Columbia Heights, at $632,500, and Northwest Washington, with an average cost of $647,450.

GDP

The U.S. current-dollar GDP decreased by 2.3% over the last year, a number that equals losses of over $500 billion. There is a reason for optimism, though, because global vaccination efforts could help economies recover worldwide.

Employment

D.C.’s unemployment rate remains relatively high at 6.9%. That’s 3.6% higher than before the pandemic but also 2% lower than May 2020. The Washington area was fortunate in many ways, because it has many government employees who continued working when other industries were on lockdown.

2021 Economic Outlook

The global economy could grow by 5.5% in 2021, following a 3.5% contraction in 2020. D.C. is well-positioned to take advantage of this economic growth, because it’s the country’s third-best city for young professionals and the fifth-best large city in which to live, according to researchers at Resonance Consultancy.

Supply and Demand

Supply in the D.C. housing market is low, with fewer homeowners selling than is necessary to keep up with demand. The number of homes sold in March 2021 is up by nearly 20% over 2019, though, showing that inventory is still moving. The low supply in D.C. will drive a sellers’ market, although we could see construction rates increase as lumber prices return to normal, creating additional supply in coming years.

The Millennial Factor

millennial couple spending time together in the suburbs of dc

Millennials are the country’s largest living generation after passing Baby Boomers in 2019, so it makes sense that they would significantly influence the housing market. People in this generation are looking to buy in the suburbs and are making large down payments, helping drive the sellers’ market in D.C.

COVID Impact

The elephant in the room throughout all of this is COVID-19. A full economic recovery is mainly dependent on a few factors, including vaccine acceptance and rollout, variants of concern, and global COVID recovery. It’s too early to say if 2021 will bring a full recovery because there are so many variables in play. A COVID variant making vaccines obsolete or D.C. residents not returning for their second shots could help the virus take off again. All that uncertainty led to an economy and housing market that experienced a rough year in 2020.

Mortgage Rates

There’s an excellent chance that mortgage rates will increase at some point in 2021 because they remain incredibly low. Rates have been around 3.85% in D.C. for the last few years, but they’re currently in the 3.1% range for 30-year fixed and about 2.3% for 15-year fixed.

Market Predictions

It’s unlikely that we’ll see a buyers’ market in D.C. in 2021 because there isn’t enough supply to go around. Your ability to buy in D.C.’s current market will depend on your budget. The city is expensive, particularly in the most desirable neighborhoods, and the demand for affordable housing creates a competitive market for these properties.

Average Prices

The average sale price in Washington, D.C., comes in at $544 per square foot. This number is an increase of 10% from the previous year. It’s also worth mentioning that the average list-to-sale price is 101.3%, so the typical home sells for 1.3% above the list price. Roughly 42.5% of homes sell for above the asking price. Buyers and sellers should also know that 9.5% of homes drop in price before selling, a number that is 7.9% higher than 2020. 

Buyers and sellers alike will need to see how the market reacts and set some goals, including minimum price, ideal price, and ideal closing date, based on the trends. It’s then a good idea to contact a D.C. real estate agent to get your home listed and on the market as quickly as possible.

Learn More About D.C. Housing Market Trends

It’s inevitable that 2021 will be a year of ups and downs as the country recovers from the most significant public health event of the past 100 years. The housing market will likely continue as a sellers’ market driven by a lack of supply, but increasing mortgage rates could slow things heading into fall.

Browse the Nomadic Real Estate website for more information on D.C.’s housing market trends. You can also contact us today to go over your leasing, sales, or property management needs in the Washington, D.C., area.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.